North America

Postmates Risks Judicial Rebuke by Filing Suit Against 10,000 of Its Drivers to Try to Escape Individual Arbitrations

Be careful what you ask for.

We have used that expression frequently when writing about recent federal court orders requiring DoorDash and Postmates to conduct thousands of individual arbitrations in California pursuant to the terms of their arbitration agreements with their drivers.

Thousands of individual arbitrations for which DoorDash and Postmates would have to pay many millions of dollars in arbitration fees alone.

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NEW CFIUS PART 802 GEOGRAPHIC REFERENCE TOOL

Pursuant to the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (“FIRRMA”), the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) is authorized to review certain real estate transactions by foreign persons in the United States. The regulations at 31 C.F.R. part 802[1] (effective on February 13, 2020), implement CFIUS’s authority to review certain “covered real estate transactions,” involving the purchase or the lease by, or a concession to, a foreign person of certain real estate in the United States. The real estate transactions subject to review include transactions meeting certain criteria and that are in, or around, sensitive sites such as specific airports, maritime ports, and military installations. The airports and maritime ports are identified in the regulations and contained on lists published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Furthermore, the military installations are listed at Appendix A to Part 802.

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Lawsuit Against a Municipality: Beware of Prescription!

By Zachary Ouimet, from our Insurance Law Practice Group

March 26, 2020 — A recent judgment reminds us that, as a general rule, an action for damages against a municipality must be brought within six months of the first sign of the occurrence of the damage, even though the extent of the damage may not necessarily be known and may not have fully materialized.

In Martin c. Ville de Magog, 2020 QCCS 182, the Honourable Justice Gaétan Dumas dismissed a lawsuit instituted by the plaintiffs allowing a ground of dismissal on the basis that the action was prescribed under section 586 of the Cities and Towns Act [“CTA”].

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COVID-19 —Family Law Communiqué

March 25, 2020 — Dear clients,

The current crisis affects almost all aspects of our lives.

However, we would like to take this opportunity to let you know that we continue to be here to serve you during these difficult times. The COVID-19 virus and the public health measures adopted to combat it may raise questions concerning custody, parental authority, alimentary obligations or the negotiation of your divorce (or any other matter that may arise) in the coming weeks.

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ONC’s New Information Blocking Prohibition Affects Health Care Providers, Health IT Developers, Health Information Exchanges, and Health Information Networks

On March 9, 2020, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (“ONC”) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published their long-awaited final rules that seeks to promote interoperability. Market participants waited longer than usual for this rule due to the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) extending the comment period at the request of a variety of stakeholders.

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Howard & Howard Welcomes William A. Gonzales

Royal Oak, Mich., March 24, 2020 – Royal Oak, Michigan-based Howard & Howard is pleased to announce that William A. Gonzales has joined the firm. He will practice out of the Las Vegas, Nevada office.

“I apply my compassionate and assertive nature to achieve the best outcomes for my clients.” –William A. Gonzales

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New Mexico Prohibits Non-Disclosure Provisions in Settlement Agreements Involving Harassment and Discrimination Claims

On March 4, 2020, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law House Bill 21 (“Law”), limiting the use of non-disclosure agreements (“NDA”) in settlements of sexual misconduct claims.

The Law prohibits employers from requiring, as a condition of employment, that an employee agree to an NDA in a settlement agreement relating to a claim of sexual harassment, discrimination, or retaliation whether occurring in the workplace or at a “work-related event[s] coordinated by or through the employer.” In settlement agreements with former employees, the Law permits the amount of the settlement be kept confidential and, at the former employee’s request, a confidentiality provision may be included that prevents disclosure of factual information that might reveal the complainant’s identity. Further, at the former employee’s “sole” request, a broader NDA – one that prohibits disclosure of “factual information related to the underlying sexual harassment, discrimination or retaliation claim,” is permissible, as long as it does not bar disclosure pursuant to a subpoena or other legal order issued in an administrative, judicial, or other governmental proceeding.

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Ninth Circuit Ends Wage Statement Class Action Where Plaintiff Suffered No “Real-World Consequences” From Error in Employer’s Name

Employers in California have been inundated with wage-hour class actions for the past two decades.  And, time and again, they have had to deal with employee-friendly decisions from the California Supreme Court.

Leave it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal to step in and put an end to a proposed class action, finding that there were no “real-world consequences” from wage statements had an error in the employer’s name.

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Benefits Guidance in the time of COVID-19: Additional Cybersecurity Concerns as Employees “Work-From-Home”

As the United States and the rest of the world hunker down in their homes to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many organizations have implemented “working-from-home” procedures that are designed to protect the health of the employees.  Working-from-home, however, presents heightened threats to the cybersecurity of benefit plans, including the plan’s assets and employee data that is collected, transmitted, and stored with regard to employee benefit plans.  Plan sponsors and fiduciaries have asked about the particular risks that working-from-home might present to the protection of sensitive data and whether there are additional proactive measures they can take to reduce those risks.

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COVID-19 – New York Expands Telehealth Utilization

We hope that everyone is staying safe during the COVID-19 crisis. State health departments are, of course, doing what they can to facilitate management of transmission of COVID-19 by healthcare providers. Some recent actions by the New York Department of Health (“DOH”) to allow or promote telephonic and telehealth services include:

Telephonic Evaluation – Beginning with dates of service of March 13, Medicaid will reimburse telephonic evaluation and management services for established patients where face-to-face visits may not be recommended and it is medically appropriate to evaluate and manage the patient by phone. Additionally, where a patient face-to-face visit is not possible due to the State of Emergency, telephonic visits documented as clinically appropriate by the provider will be considered medically necessary for Medicaid payment purposes.

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